An American breakfast in the Lion City

22 04 2013
CBTL_Breakfast_00_Merlion

Good morning, Singapore!

I WOKE up to an overcast Sunday sky morning.  When clouds hover overhead this way, I long to be gastronomically comforted.  When this mood hits me, I prefer to have the flavors of the familiar for breakfast.  Being deeply committed to a romance with places I call home, I decided on old-fashioned freshly baked bagel with a good schmear of cream cheese.

For a year and a half in Folsom, California, this was exactly my breakfast.  Clearly, my choice of the first meal of the day today is in honor of the States, which in the past few days has shown the world stories of courage, heroism, and hope.

Here in Singapore, I get my bagel and cream cheese fix from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf.  I would ask that the bagel be cut across, then thrown to the toaster to just brown ever so lightly.  Onto the fluffy, chewy center, I smear a generous amount of cream cheese, the more it slides down to the sides, the better.  While most approach it like they would a sandwich, I actually deal with each slice separately.  Unless I find myself within the walls of my office cubicle, I see no need to rush the pleasure.

CBTL_Breakfast_04_Bagel

Breakfast is served! Old-fashioned sesame seed bagel and cream cheese, with hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.

 

CBTL_Breakfast_09_Bagel

This is a surprisingly affordable plate! The bagel costs only S$ 3.50 and the cream cheese, S$ 0.80. The butter and the jam are complimentary!

 

CBTL_Breakfast_10_Bagel

The perfect bagel has a shiny crusty exterior and dense chewy interior. I asked for it to be cut across then lightly toasted. Just how I would do it at the office cafereria in Folsom for a year and a half!

 

CBTL_Breakfast_11_Cream_Cheese

I’m always all the more so excited the moment I peel off the top of the cream cheese mini-tub.

 

CBTL_Breakfast_12_Cream_Cheese

I reckon that this small-ish tub is always never enough. Hahaha!

 

CBTL_Breakfast_13_Hot_Chocolate

Nothing like hot chocolate with marshmallows on a cold morning.

I take a bite through the crusty outside all the way to the dense, doughy interior, unperturbed by the cream cheese moustache that would form with each bite.  I lick this tasty smear around my lips, take a sip of my hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, look outside the window and see that the sun is slowly breaking free from the clouds.

Indeed, there is still more good in this world.

CBTL_Breakfast_01_Merlion

I just love this photo of the Merlion from my archives. I took it during one of the many breakfasts I’ve had here.

 

CBTL_Breakfast_02_Marina_Bay_Sands

The Singapore skyline in the early morning.

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved

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That’s why this cake is a vamp

7 04 2013
Cupcakes_Red Velvet Vixen 00

The “Red Velvet Vixen”, the perfect red velvet cupcake that can only be had at Cupcakes by Sonja, #1 C03 Serendra Piazza, For Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines. They’re now on the web at http://www.cupcakesbysonja.com!

IT’S BEEN a decade since I first laid eyes on the countenance of this vamp.  I made the acquaintance through – of all meansFrom Martha’s Kitchen, Martha Stewart’s eponymous cooking show on the FoodNetwork.  Like the show’s host, this new acquaintance was and still is a study in contradiction.  Fluffs of pristine white ensconce a deep dark red inside.  Bad to the core, you can say.  So bad that it’s actually so good.

Red velvet, which traces its roots to the American South, is a stunning red layer cake with delicious cream cheese frosting slathered in between layers and smothered all over the outside.  When made right, it is a cake of a delicate, tender texture with a subtle – almost fleeting – hint of cocoa that marries wonderfully with a straightforward cream cheese frosting that is often never too sweet.

Here in the Lion City, I think that the best rendition of this beloved dessert can be found at the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.  I first had it at their BEANStro shop at The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.  Nowadays, I would get my fix at their Changi Airport Café.

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The refrigerated display counter at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf, Changi Aiport, Singapore. Note to self: Check out that yummy-looking Chicago Cheesecake!

 

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This was the first ever slice of red velvet cake I’ve had here in Singapore, at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf’s BEANStro at the Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands.

 

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Who wouldn’t order takeaway if they’d put it that way? I realize I’ve been bringing a sweet little box of dreams with me quite often.

 

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CBTL’s version ia a two-layer. I would love a thicker frosting though. But essentially no complaints.

 

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This cake goes perfect with a cup of good coffee. Between the cake and the mug in the photograph, that’s like the two biggest coffee chains in one frame. Hahaha! Notice the smear of cream cheese frosting on the box’s side? That got some serious licking. Hahaha!

But it was in the Philippines where I really fell in love with this classic confection.  I do swear by Cupcakes by Sonja’s incarnation, which takes a sexier, more alluring approach with its name, the “Red Velvet Vixen”.  On their menu, they list it as a “Traditional Southern Red Velvet cupcake made with Belgian cocoa and topped with luscious cream cheese icing”.  I used to get it every week before the Merlion beckoned.

eNTeNG_Cupcakes by Sonja 02 Box

On my desk at my former workplace, a box of Cupcakes by Sonja treats is a usual sight.

 

eNTeNG_Cupcakes by Sonja 03 Box

This was one of the four boxes which I got from the store before leaving for Singapore.

 

eNTeNG_Cupcakes by Sonja 04 Box

The Red Velvet Vixen is at home sharing a box of six with the likes of Chocolate Surprise and Vanilla Sunshine.

 

Red Velvet Vixen 002

“This is the Traditional Southern Red Velvet cupcake made with Belgian cocoa and topped with luscious cream cheese icing.”

If you’re meeting this cake for the first time, you may find that the moment begs the question, “Why would someone want their cake so red?”  Which to me is like asking Lynn Bracken, Kim Basinger’s Veronica Lake look-alike character in L.A. Confidential why she paints her lips in shockingly bright red and keeps her peek-a-boo locks in platinum blond.

I hear her response, “Because frankly my dear, it is pretty.  Make that, I am pretty.”

I would say that the same holds true for the cake.

Cupcakes - Red Velvet Vixen 03

I have to say that Cupcakes by Sonja’s Red Velvet Vixen is pretty with a purpose. They’ve tied up with the Philippine Red Cross in the past for fund drives like this one.

 

eNTeNG - Red Velvet Vixen 00

eNTeNG ready to devour a Red Velvet Vixen

Copyright © 2013 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





La Vita è Bella

10 12 2012
Italian Lunch - Group 04 THANKS Original

The writing on the paper says it all.

MAKING PASTA for Italians is like hitting your head with the biggest rock you picked up on a leisurely stroll on Orchard Turn.  It sounds like a recipe for disaster but you do it just the same,

Not one to back down from a self-imposed challenge, I, along with Kiddo, whipped up an Italian lunch of pasta and risotto for our four dear Italian compadres Michele, Paolo, Claudio and Michele last Saturday.  (Yes, two Micheles.)

We intended to hit a home run – or, going by Italy’s favorite sport – make a goal, so we asked (okay, more like forced) Claudio if we could have the lunch at his place.  I thought, it could’ve at least imbibed by now the essence of the Italian spirit – the flavors borne on the sun-kissed Mediterranean, smacked with the temperament that can only come from the boot-shaped peninsula and the islands of Sardinia and Sicily where the Eurasian Plate and the African Plate meet.

If everything went well, I could charge it to the golden green extra virgin olive oil and the perfumed goodness of basil.  If from the initial sizzle created by garlic hitting hot oil everything went downhill, I would allude to the considerable seismic activity, characteristic of the country, which could wreak havoc on even the best-laid plans.

The planned menu reads prettily on paper and speaks boldness on the part of two Asians who for the most part could’ve just very well been tinkering with one of the most recognizable cuisines in the world.

TheBrenDarryl (recipe here) – Australian Baby Wild Arugula Salad with sliced Green New Zealand Granny Smith Apple and Green Argentinian Pear, topped with shaved Parmesan Cheese and served with pan-grilled honey-glazed Prawns on the side, in my now-signature Honey–Calamansi Dressing.

Angel Hair Pomodoro (recipes here)

Farfalle alla Genovese (recipe here or here)

Risotto Zafferano (recipe by Kiddo)

To start the meal, we passed around a loaf of ciabatta from a “Milano” bakeshop in Takashimaya, and for dessert, we couldn’t have gone more traditional and Christmas-y than with panettone which I sliced and served with three kinds of gelatocrème brûlée, coffee and vanilla.  Three bottles of red wine were popped through the course of the meal, their origins being a veritable testament to globalization – one came from Chile, another from Australia, and the third one from France.

The day started quite early as Kiddo, Claudio and I agreed to do the groceries at the Cold Storage at Takashimaya the morning of.  What was initially planned to be a dash-and-go turned out to be a surprise gathering as we bumped into Paolo (there for groceries) and Michele (there for breakfast and some takeaway bread).

Italian Lunch - Group 05 Cold Storage

What did you know. We first bumped into Paolo. Then on the way out, we saw Michele.

 

Italian Lunch - Group 06 Cold Storage

Michele says HI to the camera!

 

Italian Lunch - Group 07 Cold Storage

Now, let’s try a proper photo. Hehe.

Together, we took that leisurely stroll back to their serviced apartment and I kept my eyes wide open for the biggest rock I could pick up and hit my head with.  Haha!

Italian Lunch - Apartment 00 Chandelier

I fell in love with the lobby of their apartment from the first time I saw it. The chandeliers are nice. Simple lines, wrought iron work, and individual lights that evoke images of votives. Like sending prayers to heaven.

 

Italian Lunch - Apartment 01 Ceiling

Lovin’ the high ceiling and the skeleton globes.

 

Italian Lunch - Apartment 02 Lobby

The place is all dressed up for Christmas already. I love that tree.

 

Italian Lunch - Apartment 03 The West Wing

A part of me expected Martin Sheen to show up at some point.

Once there, Kiddo and I proceeded with all the prep work – peeling, cutting, and slicing – while at the same time turning on all four burners to heat pots and pans, some of which had to be borrowed from Paolo’s and Michele’s places.

Italian Lunch - Solo 01 Cooking

Whenever I cook at other people’s places, I always get this kind of shot. How does this happen? Someone calls out for you, you turn around to acknowledge, then the shutter is set off. I like this one.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 00 Ingredients

First thing I always do regardless of where I’m cooking is lay down all the ingredients. I pick what I need as I move along with the cooking. The steaks were for Paolo as he doesn’t eat seafood.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 01 Mushroom Ragout

The mushroom ragout for the Farfalle alla Genovese is done. The two pots on the left are water for the pasta – one for the farfalle, one for the angel hair.

 

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The food has landed on the table!

 

Italian Lunch - Food 06 Risotto Zafferano

Kiddo’s Risotto Zafferano

 

Italian Lunch - Food 05 Angel Hair Pomodoro

Angel Hair Pomodoro, made with only fresh tomatoes. In deference to Claudio’s sensitivity to “uncooked” cheese, I didn’t sprinkle parmesan cheese on top.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 02 Farfalle alla Genovese

Farfalle alla Genovese

 

Italian Lunch - Food 07 French Red Wine

The third bottle of red wine that was opened was French.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 08 French Red Wine

I loved how the label verbiage described the wine. “The wine is expressive and full-bodied yet unpretentious…” Could’ve been describing a person. Haha! Michele did a fine job reading the description in French.

 

Italian Lunch - Group 08 Lunch

I think lunch went okay. Haha!

More than anything, Kiddo and I wanted to keep the time as much as possible.  It would be a shame to keep guests waiting.  When the clock hit 1:00 PM – the appointed time on our invitation – I closed my eyes for one brief moment and imagined in my head the voice of Padma Lakshmi saying, “Hands up!  Utensils down!”  This meant slashing the salad off of the menu simply because I had yet to assemble the individual plates.

We sat down like one big happy family, expressed our appreciation for the food we were about to share, and just dug in.  Before we were about to finish, Michele and Claudio started asking for the speeches from “the chefs.”  I kept glancing at Kiddo and kept making sheepish grins thinking those would get me off the hook.  But our guests were serious about wanting to hear speeches.  Claudio, having already heard me deliver one at an office event, just wouldn’t let me get away with it scot-free.  I had to speak.

So with an iPhone5 trained at my countenance, I spoke.  It’s always just a good thing to keep on remembering the two lessons (among countless others) from my childhood that have never left me:  I was raised to never talk to strangers.  And to never ever be afraid to express how I feel (in my heart) and what I think (in my head).  So I spoke.  I had to.  I couldn’t put up with pretending not wanting to speak my mind.  Hehe.

Eventually, the Italians responded with their own “speeches.”  The one thing I could never forget from what they said was that by sharing a meal with us – me, Kiddo, and our other Asian friends (Chin Eik, and then Shook Yee, were there too) – they actually express their respect for us and their willingness to be our friends.  I paraphrased but that was essentially it.

After lunch was cleared, it was time to move on to a more pressing concern – to learn to play mahjong.  While Shook Yee, Chin Eik and Kiddo coached Michele, Paolo, Claudio and Michele, I proceeded with preparing the dessert course.  The panettone and gelato were store-bought (Cold Storage Specialty) but they didn’t have to be served looking like they did.  So I reached for Claudio’s pristine bone china pieces from the cupboard, set on each a thinly sliced wedge of panettone, and three rustic scoops of gelato, one each for the crème brûlée, coffee and vanilla.

Italian Lunch - Group 00 Mahjong

For most of us, it was time to learn mahjong! Chin Eik, Paolo, the very lovely Shook Yee, Michele, eNTeNG and Kia Leh (Kiddo).

 

Italian Lunch - Group 09 Mahjong

Soon enough, the Italians were making a killing at the game. Haha!

 

Italian Lunch - Friends 00 Claudio Michele

Michele and Claudio celebrate a win by singing Queen’s “We Are The Champions”. Haha!

 

Italian Lunch - Mahjong 00 Fave Tiles

My favorite mahjong tiles

 

Italian Lunch - Mahjong 01 Almost Win

An almost win for me

 

Italian Lunch - Mahjong 02 Win

Finally, a win for me!

 

Italian Lunch - Mahjong 03 Cheat Sheet

We had a cheat sheet written on the mahjong paper, courtesy of either Shook Yee, Chin Eik, or Kiddo.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 09 Panettone

Panettone, the traditional Italian Christmas cake, the dessert of choice courtesy of Claudio.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 10 Panettone with Gelato

Panettone with Gelato Three Ways, ready to be served.

 

Italian Lunch - Food 11 Panettone with Gelato

Each dessert portion is a thin slice of panettone, with a rustic melange of crème brûlée, coffee and vanilla gelato.

By the time each finished his or her share of cake and gelato, we looked at the leaderboard in shock and awe that one of the Italians, very new to the game, made us bite dust.  Paolo made an unprecedented three-win streak.  Michele (Kuya) chalked up two wins (celebrating one with a rendition of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” together with Claudio), as well as Chin Eik.  I don’t recall how the others fared.  But I do know that Shook Yee won the last game.  And somewhere in between, I walked away with a win too!  Haha!

We spent another hour talking about all things Italian – everybody in the guest list has been to Italy except me – before heading off to Takashimaya for dinner at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf’s Beanstro.  Around past 11:00 PM, we went on our way back to their place for the final nightcap.

Italian Lunch - Group 05 Elevator

On the elevator ride down, on our way to Takashimaya for a little shopping, coffee, and dinner for me. Haha!

 

Italian Lunch - Food 12 Beanstro Menu

The BeanSTRO Menu

 

Italian Lunch - Group 02 CBTL Beanstro

The gang at BeanSTRO by CBTL at Takashimaya

 

Italian Lunch - Food 15 Beanstro Pasta

My Roast Chicken and Tomato Concasse Pasta

 

Italian Lunch - Food 16 Biscotti

We brought back some Almond-Chocolate Biscotti from CBTL.

Needless to say, on this third leisurely stroll on Orchard Turn done in the space of one fine day, I was hoping against hope to find the biggest rock to hit my head with.  What was my business making pasta for Italians?  Then I realized I needed not a reality check because in their kind words that peppered the day’s many conversations, I recognized gratitude, appreciation for effort beyond the fruition of perfection, and a tolerance for what one’s best can offer.

I can’t wait for the next get-together.

Italian Lunch - Solo 00 Christmas Tree

Of course I’ve got to have a photo by the Christmas Tree at the lobby.

 

Italian Lunch - Group 01 Christmas Tree

By the same Christmas Tree, here with Michele, Claudio, Shook Yee, and Kiddo.

 

Italian Lunch - Solo 02 Lobby

Anywhere there is a mirror. Haha!… As you can see, we had the lobby all to ourselves. This was one of the best late night conversations I have had in a long time.

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





Sister and the City

24 07 2012

BEING BORN to a brood of four brothers, I’ve become cognizant of the fact that while I may not have a biological sister, life has the fondest thoughts of me in mind when it sent some people my way.  I always feel this whenever I think of Agnes – make that, “Sister”.  After all, I see her as one of the sisters life forgot to give me.

Back in the Philippines, she, Brother (Edu) and I started off as officemates, and in time forged a bond only real siblings do share.  It’s the kind that transcends and as a matter of fact, celebrates idiosyncrasies, varying points of views, evolving passions, and different circles of other friends.  Our friendship is nowhere near perfect.  It has weathered storms, hurdled obstacles, and in the process emerged beautified by adversity.

Brother and Sister

Another Brother and Sister

After almost seven years of not seeing each other, we finally met up again when she came over for a series of important meetings with her counterparts in our company’s Singapore office.  As it is with real friends, it seemed like no time has passed between us.  It was just like one of those long nights or sleepovers that Brother and I would spend with her and her family in Makati, where we were always constant, well-received guests.  Except now, our little “Sister” is actually the loving wife of Jim, and the loving mother of just the cutest, prettiest toddler Kailey.  I’ve been totally remiss, inactive on facebook for about a year at least, but that much about Sister’s life I know.

It was just like the good old days.  We shared a lot of food – to this day, I acknowledge that my recipe of tortang talong (grilled eggplant omelet) came from her family’s kitchen – and quite expectedly, a lot of conversations.  And true to habits that are just hard to break, we hung out till the wee hours of the morning, reminiscing about the past and catching up on one another’s affairs.

Sister, it was so nice to see you again!  I hope it won’t take another seven years!

This was the image of Clarke Quay that greeted Brother and me as we emerged from the MRT station.

I’ve never been to Swissotel Merchant Court Hotel. But as is always the case here in Singapore, it is hard to get lost. There’s always something pointing you to the right direction.

Found it!

I saw this Hublot wall clock and immediately fell in love with the hotel. “How much is a night’s stay?” I almost asked! Haha!

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror…”

 

Of course, it is requisite to have this photo with Sister and that Hublot!

 

Brother and Sister on the yellow line.

 

Sister has arrived at the Sands!

 

The Angel Wears Prada

 

Sister shows me how to properly take a shot at the poorly illuminated Louis Vuitton storefront. Here she is working on ther settings of her compact camera.

 

Sister at Rasapura Masters

 

I had the fishball noodle dry. Sister had the soup version with kway teow instead of my favorite mee kia.

 

Braised Tofu

 

Brother had on his plate the most amazing, sweet, succulent grilled squid. Sister and I ended up picking on his food. Haha!

 

He also had a huge serving of Beef Caldereta, which is essentially Filipino beef stew. This one was almost perfect.

 

Louis Vuitton always has amazing window displays!

 

Coffee or tea?

 

Of course, on the eve of Sister’s departure, I just got to be there. Here, together with Philip Stein, Glycine and Blackberry.

 

Now on the Circle Line, just a station away from Bayfront.

 

I was late to dinner. When I enquired for directions, Iron Man simply told me to follow directions the moment I alight from the train. “Follow everything that says Gardens by the Bay.”

 

I saw this and realized it was going to be a long walk. I told myself, “this is Alay Lakad.”

 

Not even the escalator ride is spared from “self-portrait” moments. Hehe.

 

I still see signs pointing the way to Gardens by the Bay. So clearly, I didn’t feel any rush. Did I mention I was already running late? Haha!

 

I saw this colorful wall and suddenly, “‘Pop!’ goes my heart!”… Clearly, I wasn’t alone in admiring the burst of hues!

 

But I still had to have my alone time against this backdrop. I chided myself for deciding against wearing my colorful Ralph Lauren shirt for which I earned the monicker “Gummy Bear” from one of my friends at work.

 

One of those present at dinner is my good friend Mitzi.

 

For dinner, I had wantan mee. This was delicious!

 

This soup came with. It looks pretty plain and simple but it was full of flavor.

 

We walked from Gardens by the Bay to Marina Bay Sands for coffee and cake.

 

But you know me, I won’t stop at coffee and cake. I’ve got to have something substantial. I espied Aglio Olio at the next table but eventually decided on the Caesar Salad.

 

Not the best Caesar Salad I have ever had but simply scrumptious just the same! i finished everything on this plate!

 

I will definitely come back for this Red Velvet Cake! Deep-red, undeniably laced with delicious vanilla, this cake has a good crumb that’s moist, with hints of cocoa in the background. The cream cheese frosting was divine.

 

The gang bonding over coffee (that was yet to come). Clearly, you see all are all ears to what Mario was saying.

 

Back at the hotel, I asked for the Chicken Congee on the In-Dining Overnight Menu.

 

The Chicken Congee was very delicately flavored and served as the perfect blank canvass for the fixin’s it came with. Sister sure couldn’t help but comment that my appetite hasn’t changed in the seven years we haven’t seen each other. Haha!

 

The sides include pickled vegetables (behind the dough fritters), salted egg, crisp-fried shallots, spring onions, and as mentioned, dough fritters.

 

Parting shot… Sister, I miss you already!

 

Copyright © 2012 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved





For before, during and after the movies

23 07 2010

Snapshot taken right after getting my caffeine fix after watching the last screening of Toy Story 3. It was right around midnight.

THIS WEEK seems to be a good week at the movies.  I haven’t gotten around to seeing any of the current releases, but I intend to this weekend.  Everything’s in consideration.  Oops, spoke too soon.  Everything except one of the two Tagalog movies.

With movies in my mind, I’m reminded of my routine as of late:

A really heavy dinner.

Healthy shabi-shabu!

 

Lots of vegetables!

 

Beef sirloin

 

Fresh oysters

 

Extra serving of Taiwan pechay and shiitake mushrooms

 

Extra serving of tofu

 

Coffee (or tea) and a pastry from The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf to bring to the cinema.

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf

 

Coffee and a pastry from Starbucks for after the movies.

My coffee name on my coffee cup on top of gifts from The Dark Knight.

 

My coffee name came from a newspaperman...

 

...who turns into The Man of Steel.

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





36 Things

12 07 2010

36.  AFTER THREE unsuccessful attempts, I’ve finally completed the Starbucks® Coffee Company’s Christmas Traditions Promo Card.  I redeemed my 2010 planner at their Las Piñas store on New Year’s morn, just hours after I was treated at the hospital for firecracker-related injury – also a first.

Starbucks Christmas Traditions Promo Cards

My Starbucks 2010 Planner, plus three bags of New Year's gifts.

 

35.  I’ve been in the same job for the past 14 years and two months.

34.  My beverage of choice be it at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf or at Starbucks® is Hot Chai Tea Latte served over ice.  Strong on the freshly steeped tea, easy on the steamed milk.  Unfortunately, neither has perfected it, just the way the Sodexho Coffee Bar at Intel Corporation in Folsom makes it.

The very kind staff at Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf didn't mind me taking a shot of their fragrant chai tea loose leaf blend. It was a bouquet of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise and fennel, with hints of ginger and black peppercorn.

My chai tea latte over ice is finally served! Notice that it's quite milky white, unlike in the States where they put more of the steeped tea. Chai tea latte should be a mug of spicy black tea with milk and sugar, profuse with notes of cardamom, cinnamon, star anise, fennel, ginger, and black peppercorns.

I've kept these beverage rewards cards all these years.

 

33.  I’ve been meaning to prop up my Americana Wooden Birdhouse at the terrace.  But I haven’t gotten around to actually doing it.

32.  The first time I’ve ever seen a movie on 3D here at home was when I saw Toy Story 3.  I thought the Dolby 3D glasses over my Emporio Armani prescription spectacles were putting too much strain on my eyes.  I didn’t know the lump that was forming in my throat had managed to escape through my eyes.

Toy Story 3 movie tickets

31.  The best motion picture I’ve seen in the past six months is Up In The Air.

Movie ticket for Up In The Air

30.  During flights, I take photos of the airplane’s wings at 30,000 feet.

Took this photo of an airplane wing on a flight from Penang in Malaysia to Singapore.

29.  I’ve never seen an episode of Glee.  But I never miss watching Royal Pains weekly – on its original time slot and on both its encore screenings on Saturdays.

28.  While I prefer tempura batter to be light and fluffy, I don’t mind the heavy batter Healthy Shabu-Shabu uses on their mixed tempura.  My favorite in their platter is the shiitake mushroom caps.

A small portion of Healthy Shabu-Shabu's Mixed Tempura

27.  Gourmet’s Farm grows the sweetest, most fragrant basil leaves.  I bought one packet, stuck it in the fridge, and forgot about it.  Three days later, when on a whim I made my angel hair pomodoro, I got arrested by the unusually heady, invigorating scent that tearing Gourmet’s Farm’s basil leaves emanated.  Basil had never smelled that good to me!

Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil

Really fragrant Gourmet's Farm sweet basil leaves ready to perfume my pomodoro sauce.

The actual Angel Hair Pomodoro I first used Gourmet's Farm's Sweet Basil on. Sumptuous!

26.  Mapúa Institute of Technology, where I studied in high school, was near Baker’s Fair where I used to get my favorite hopia monggo.  Nineteen years later, I serendipitously discovered their ube ensaymada.  Simply scrumptious!

Baker's Fair's Ube Ensaymada

Purple yam swirls through the brioche.

25.  I eat noodles using chopsticks from Shanghai that my friend Tenz gifted me with.

Chopsticks from Shanghai, courtesy of Tenz.

My favorite chopsticks piercing through a pile of Beef Tendon Noodles from Kim Hiong!

 

24.  The big Zara S-A-L-E is going on.  There is one item I didn’t get before – because it was still full-priced.  Hahaha!  I wonder if it’s still available.

Zara S-A-L-E, 2009.

23.  One of my principles in life is:  “Never pay full price!

22.  The only vegetable entrée I consistently ask for everywhere is Ampalaya Con Carne (bitter gourd with beef in a fermented soybean sauce).  At Max’s, I’d rather have that than the all-you-can-eat fried chicken they are currently offering at a very reasonable – almost a steal – Php 165.00.

Max's Ampalaya Con Carne

 

At Maxim's Tea House, Ampalaya Con Carne with Rice can be had to go.

21.  I prefer fried chicken to be doused by nothing more than a good Worcestershire sauce.

Max's fried chicken

 

Worcestershire sauce does wonders to fried chicken!

20.  My tea of the moment is TAZO Mint Blend, courtesy of my Ninong Allan Paz.  It’s a caffeine-free herbal infusion described as a bracing blend of mint with a pinch of tarragon.  Doesn’t that sound lovely?!

A pile of this wonderful tea from Ninong Allan Paz!

 

The description of this tea blend alone is half the fun already!

19.  I adore Cibo’s Farfalle Genovese.  This dish of farfalle (bowtie pasta) in a wild mushroom cream sauce with fresh basil pesto is both heaven on a plate and a party in your mouth.

The family size serving of Cibo's Farfalle Genovese

 

Farfalle Genovese on my plate

18.  Still at Cibo…  I always ask for extra slices of fennel bulb and fronds whenever I have a plate of their Spaghettini Alla Romana (spaghettini with sardines in oil, fennel, and red pepper pesto).

Cibo's Spaghettini Alla Romana

17.  My favorite Chicken Tinola (chicken in a gingery broth with chili leaves) is not my own, but my friend Stave Michael’s.

Stave Michael's Chicken Tinola

 

This has got to be the best homecooked Chicken Tinola I've ever had.

16.  My favorite commercially available cookies are Mama’s Kitchen’s Mango Chewies from Iloilo City.

A box of Mama's Kitchen's Mango Chewies from Iloilo City

 

These are the best cookies!

15.  Buon Giorno! at the Cliffhouse in Tagaytay makes amazing Bruschetta and Insalata Caprese (Caprese Salad – tomatoes, basil, buffalo mozzarella).

Buon Giorno!'s Bruschetta

 

Buon Giorno!'s Insalata Caprese

14.  Of the many malls, The Podium gets decked in the best Christmas decorations.

The Podium, Christmas 2008.

 

The Podium, Christmas 2009.

 

In Christmas 2009, Victorinox Swiss Army held an exhibit at The Podium.

 

I loved the golden Christmas trees that hung from the ceiling.

13.  Whenever it’s on the menu, I ask for fresh Chrysanthemum Juice.  Here, I get it only at Banana Leaf and at North Park.

Fresh Chrysanthemum Juice at The Banana Leaf

12.  Long before Up and Toy Story 3 wrung my lachrymal glands dry, Finding Nemo had done so seven years earlier.

I found Nemo!

11.  I waited for the results of the voting in the 121st IOC Session, and I was quite saddened when Chicago lost in their bid to host the Games of the XXXI Olympiad (the 2016 Summer Olympics).

One of the placards in downtown Chicago as the city awaited the announcement of the winning host for the 2016 Olympics.

10.  The Highlander Steakhouse at Tagaytay Highlands makes an excellent Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon.

Tagaytay Highlands' The Highlander Steakhouse's Salad of Hearts of Romaine and Smoked Salmon

 

I served myself with a lot of the smoked salmon! Greeedyyy!!!

  9.  I’ve had the best Chicken Curry dishes at over 30,000 feet up in the sky, on board Air India and Jet Airways flights.  The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine at The Columns on Ayala Avenue and at The Podium is a nice place to go to here at home.  Besides the curry, I super love their Saffron Basmati Rice.

Chicken Tikka Masala Curry at The New Bombay Authentic Indian Cuisine

 

Saffron Basmati Rice

  8.  I have three notebooks in current (simultaneous) usage status – the Superman notebook I made, the Cardinal Notes from Mikko, and the Daily Notes by kikki.K from Friendship.  They’re for my essays, work, and all other notes of personal importance, respectively.

MIT Cardinal Notes from Mikko

 

kikki.K Daily Notes from Friendship

 

The cover of the Superman notebook I made.

  7.  More than ever, I have become really grateful for friends far and wide.  Not a single day passes by without me having conversations with Friendship, Batman, and Superman – no matter how busy each of us may be.

Friendship!

 

Batman!

 

Superman!

  6.  I’ve developed a deeper appreciation of Anderson Cooper, anchor of CNN’s AC 360O, after reading his memoir Dispatches from the EdgeA Memoir of War, Disasters, and Survival.

My book of the moment!

  5.  I woke up with Maroon 5’s Sunday Morning playing incessantly in my head.  Sang it a number of times in the shower.  So it turned out to be a looong shower.

  4.  For three years in a row, Batman has always been the first one to greet me on my birthday.  And there has always been a gift.  I sure hope he does keep that tradition this year.  Hahaha!

  3.  I’m craving for the U.S. Beef Ribcap Tapa & Garlic Overload at Mr. Jones in Greenbelt 5.  TheCorporateTeener highly recommends it.  “Tapa” in this context loosely translates to strips of beef that had been cured.

  2.  I believe in this: “There comes a point in your life when you realize who matters, who never did, who won’t anymore…and who always will.  So, don’t worry about people from your past. There’s a reason why they didn’t make it to your future.”

Adidas Samba shoes... my favorite!

  1.  My favorite shoes are still the Samba by Adidas.  They’re the best!

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.





A gift that keeps on giving

28 06 2010

FRIENDSHIP DOES give me really great gifts.  And by Friendship, I mean Cecille.

One of the things that she has given me that I’m wearing out with use is this Healthy Shabu-Shabu Privilege Card.  I get 10% discount every single time I dine there, which has proven to be quite often.  The last time was last Saturday night, hours before seeing Toy Story 3.

Privilege in cards!

So when it was time to get coffee at The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and I got sweet-talked by the lovely barista to avail of their “Swirl” rewards card, I gladly snapped it up.  My Italian friend said that I was easy.  I chuckled and said that after all that the barista said, I thought it was just polite to get one.  Hahaha!  Besides, with the all the coffee and tea I get, I’m bound to get eligible for something.

The Healthy Shabu-Shabu Privilege Card was a gift from Friendship. The CBTL Rewards Card, I got the other night at Town.

 

The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf!

 

Ice-Blended Ultimate Vanilla with Whipped Cream, Ice-Blended Ultimate Mocha (whipped cream blended in), and a Blueberry Cheesecake!

 

That's my coffee name!

 

Copyright © 2010 by eNTeNG  c”,)™©’s  MunchTime™©.  All rights reserved.